Marketers Increase Social Media Spending

According to the results of a recent survey carried out by the Online Marketing and Media Show (OMMS), marketers are still spending their online budgets on search, email and pay-per-click. However, they are no longer opening their wallets for traditional banner advertising, and instead they’re making room for social media and viral marketing.

The survey was targeted at exhibitors and delegates who will be attending the OMMS 2008 event which takes place on June 24th and 25th.

Overall, according to the survey, online marketing spends continue to increase, with over a third of all survey respondents revealing that up to 25% of their marketing budget will be dedicated purely to online marketing and media this year. This is a 15% increase over predicted spend in 2007.

Measuring response, SEO and online campaign planning were identified as the top three priority areas for understanding and education. Certainly this seems right on, in terms of client meetings I’ve had recently. While folks seem keenly interested in viral/social campaigns, there is still a great deal of education needed to demonstrate method and value. Despite the current lack of understanding in these areas, the study indicates that marketers are reluctant to outsource the development of their online strategy. Less than half of respondents indicated that they plan on working with a digital agency in the next 12 months.

Sally Maltby, Event Director for OMMS 2008 comments “Marketers want to invest their marketing budget where they can get tangible, clear results. Historically, SEO and pay-per-click campaigns have been the leaders for this reason. Now marketers want to engage with their audience beyond the first click. As the industry starts seeing improved measurement tools in place for social media, marketers will begin experimenting and investing more online.”

The survey also revealed that 75% of respondents generate more accountable return on investment from their online marketing and media activity than their more traditional marketing tools. In line with the majority of respondents recognizing online and social media as an area for growth, 62% said they would be comfortable advertising their brand on a social networking site.

If you read my blog, you know one of the things I love about new/social media is the immediate ROI that can be measured. Clearly, others are coming around to this notion. But, it seems we still need to do more to educate our clients on the value of these tactics.

Michael Nutley, Editor in chief of New Media Age and OMMS conference producer said, “We’ve seen from the survey results that marketers want to extend their understanding of new marketing tools before trying them out. Marketers want to engage their audiences more fully, but are unclear of how to do it from tactics to measurement.”

As I’ve said before, we need embrace the convergence of viral marketing and PR and do more to educate our clients – and each other – on the best ways to demonstrate the value of these strategies.

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